HIV-1 causes a chronic infection that affects more than 37 million people worldwide. People living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) experience comorbidity related to chronic inflammation despite antiretroviral therapy. However, these inflammatory signaling has not been fully characterized. The role of early entry events on the activation of cellular signaling events and downstream gene expression has not been captured at the single-cell level. Here the authors describe a method that applies principles of live-cell fluorescence microscopy to an automated single-cell platform that cultures and images cells over user-customized time courses, allowing for high-throughput analysis of dynamic cellular processes. This assay can track single-cell live fluorescence microscopy of early events that immediately follow HIV-1 infection, notably the influx of calcium that accompanies exposure to the virus and the development of productive infection using a fluorescent reporter virus. MT-4 cells are loaded with a calcium-sensitive dye and cultured in isolated pens on a nanofluidic device. The cultured cells are infected with an HIV-1 reporter virus (HIV-1 NLCI). A fluorescence microscope positioned above the nanofluidic device measures calcium influx over an 8-min time course following acute HIV-1 exposure. HIV-1 productive infection is measured in those same cells over a 4-day interval. Imaging data from these time courses are analyzed to define virus-host receptor interactions and signaling pathway dynamics. The authors present an integrated, scalable alternative to traditional imaging methods using a novel optofluidic platform capable of single-cell sorting, culturing, imaging, and software automation. This assay can measure the kinetics of events under various conditions, including cell type, agonist, or antagonist effect, while measuring an array of parameters. This is the first established method for nanofluidic high-throughput longitudinal single-cell culture and imaging: This technique can be broadly adapted to study cellular signaling kinetics and dynamic molecular interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere62632
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number171
StatePublished - 2021


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